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USA: SBA Regional Innovation Cluster awardees revealed

  • Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration is an American agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses, and offers a support to the economic recovery of communities in the aftermaths of disasters.  This financial support mostly takes the form of funding programmes. SBA also works along with local small businesses to counsel, mentor, and train them.  

In 2011 The US Government launched the Regional Innovation Cluster programme in order to foster innovation and competitiveness at the local level and to increase synergies between regional stakeholders (small and large businesses, universities, regional economic organisations, etc). In the frame of this strategy, SBA’s role is to lead initiatives by awarding grants to several RIC applicants. For 2019, seven of them have each been awarded up to, a substantial amount of $500,000 to develop their activity.
If the fresh awardees have not been officially revealed, SSTI succeeded to identify them through different reliable sources such as USASpending.gov. Here they are:

  • Defense Alliance (Minnesota): is one of the original regional innovation cluster designees. It will again receive funding in the newest round. Its focus is on business development funding for rural small businesses and industries.
  • Montana Technology Enterprise Center (Montana): focuses on boosting the state’s bioscience industry.
  • The Conductor (Arkansas): is a public-private partnership between Startup Junkie and the University of Central Arkansas. It provides free services to entrepreneurs such as consulting and an angel-network.
  • Optics Valley (Arizona):  aims to boost the state’s photonics industry.
  • Great Plains Technology and Manufacturing Cluster (Kansas): works to increase awareness, connectivity to resources and collaboration across the Great Plains region.
  • AgLaunch (Tennessee): focuses on agribusiness and plans to work with startups and entrepreneurs of several other States.
  • Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative (Utah): is a previous winner of the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) competition to expand its operations in the state’s rural areas.

Furthermore, several of the previous Cluster Initiative awardees also had their funding options exercised for a fifth year.
Awaiting the official release, more information on SBA’s work can be found here.